Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

July 13, 2019

GOLDEN HITS OF THE SHANGS (Judi Gee CD, Canada, 2019)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 3:33 pm

 

Golden Hits Shangs

THE SHANGS, “Golden Hits of The Shangs”

   Judi Gee Records, CD, Canada, 2019

Ontario’s SHANGS released two albums (A LITTLE BIT OF SEMI-HEAVEN and LONGET) and a non-lp 45 (Claudine b/w Gli Amori De Strata) in the 1990’s and immediately had an international cult following among the kind of people who collected Julie London albums, considered Lesley Gore’s popsike period the height of achievement, and later purchased all of the SOFT SOUNDS FOR GENTLE PEOPLE compilations. I probably had their recordings in my regular rotation for 10+ years. There is no band that sounds remotely like them, and although they are rooted in 60’s girl-group and female soft-psych recordings (and Hollywood Babylon chic), they don’t sound much like the 60’s artists they admire. When they cover a 60’s song (some of their material is covers, but most is original), it’s like they took the original song, put it in a hot shed in the tropics for 18 months, and pulled it out again after it had grown fur and started to disintegrate. In fact, the hot-house vibe of this album is HUMID that if you had some soil, you could grow vegetables in the music.

One reviewer described it as sounding like Big Star slowed down to 16 rpm, and that is evocative and accurate. I would say that if you could imagine the Jesus and Mary Chain at their most languid, locked in a room for two weeks with all of the SOFT SOUNDS FOR GENTLE PEOPLE comps and the A&M albums by Claudine Longet on repeat, and then ordered to record an album after being fed downers and leathery dark-red wine, that might wind up being similar. When I saw David Bowie’s 1976 STATION TO STATION tour in Denver, he showed the Bunuel/Dali film UN CHIEN ANDALOU as his “opening act”…..if The Shangs used a film as an opening act, it would be Dick Randall’s 1968 THE WILD WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD.

With imagery taken from subjects ranging from early 30’s Hollywood suicide Peg Entwistle, sultry and mysterious 30’s/40’s vocalist Libby Holman, actress Arlene Tiger (star of Jerry Gross’s FEMALE ANIMAL), and the films DAY OF THE LOCUST and PATCH OF BLUE, you have a good idea of what the Shangs’ music is rooted in.

In fact, the music is so wet and shimmering, it has a strong erotic quality and would probably get an “R” rating for attitude and overall vibe.

Also, and this to me is the highest compliment, this album sounds like you’re listening on headphones even when you are NOT listening through headphones.

Just imagine that you’re having a dream (probably a fever dream), and you hear an amazing album sounding like what I’ve described above and you see it’s on Lee Hazlewood’s LHI label and you wonder why you’ve never heard of it. You wake up, jot down the album title while you still remember it, and see that there was no such LHI album released in 1968….no, it’s a NEW album on the Canadian “Judi Gee” label, and The Shangs have taken that fever dream and made it real. Now, isn’t that the kind of album you want to hear? I should hope so….

As with some of the musical artists The Shangs idolize—-Claudine Longet, or Julie London, for instance—-this album takes you into its own unique world, a world you won’t want to leave. I world you’ll prefer to “reality.” Few bands have that power, that ability, that passion—-The Shangs do.

Here are two of the songs from the album, but be forewarned that the album is quite eclectic, every track sounding different and being constructed differently. These are a TASTE of the album, but there are many more flavors among its 15 tracks:

 

…………………………..

Presently, I’m not sure where the album is for sale, but it’s getting a number of reviews and airplay on a number of stations here in North American and in Europe. You can either Google the title (and put it in quotes, or you’ll get many entries for GOLDEN HITS OF THE SHANGRI-LAS) or check out the band’s website at  www.theshangs.ca

A number of the Shangs have connections with Simply Saucer, but don’t be expecting this to sound like The Saucer—-the similarities are it’s totally original, it creates a world of its own, it’s mind expanding, and it exists beyond time and place.

Get your copy now!

(ps, love the imitation Sidewalk Records logo)

Golden Hits Shangs

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